Sixers' Young plays role well vs. Minnesota

Thaddeus Young lays it up over Minnesota's Nikola Pekovic as teammate Kevin Love watches in Saturday's 76ers win.
Thaddeus Young lays it up over Minnesota's Nikola Pekovic as teammate Kevin Love watches in Saturday's 76ers win.
Posted: February 14, 2011

MEMPHIS - Thaddeus Young was, for Thaddeus Young anyway, quite animated after his late-game jumper over Minnesota Timberwolves all-star Kevin Love on Saturday night.

Young's 19-foot, step-back jumper midway through the fourth quarter signaled the beginning of the blowout for the 76ers, who went on to defeat the Timberwolves by a score of 107-87.

Young jogged back to the bench, releasing a shout the likes of which are rarely heard from the straight-faced forward.

Young finished the game with 18 points on 9-for-13 shooting. He also slowed Love, who entered the game averaging 21.4 points and 15.6 rebounds, but was limited to 16 points and 13 rebounds.

"I thought Thad came in and did a really, really good job for us," said Sixers coach Doug Collins. "His speed was just hard for them to handle."

Young played 27 minutes, 39 seconds, many of them tangled with Love.

"I think we have a lot of guys who can go out there and guard him and try to keep him off the glass," Young said afterward. "That was pretty much my job, just to get him tangled up, keep him off the glass, and just try to be aggressive with him."

Young rarely has a play run for him but scores in transition and off quick slashes to the rim. Collins says this is his perfect offensive niche.

"Thad, his speed is such a factor," Collins explained. "When he takes his time and slashes and cuts, you don't even have to run a play for him. I love Thad; he's one of my favorite people. When he does well, it makes me happy."

The Sixers returned to Philadelphia after Saturday's win over the Timberwolves. They did not practice on Sunday, but will practice on Monday at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine before flying to Memphis for Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies.

Two under. The Sixers have two games remaining before the all-star break. They also find themselves exactly two games under .500 at 26-28. On Tuesday night, the Sixers play the Grizzlies; on Wednesday night, they play at the Houston Rockets.

Asked if he could imagine approaching the .500 mark after the team's 3-13 start, Collins said: "Probably not."

"The guys deserve the credit," Collins said. "I think they like the way we play because we're unselfish, and we share the ball. When you're asking guys to defend and rebound, everyone wants to touch the ball."

Collins said that two weeks ago the coaching staff distributed a list of each player's target body-fat percentage and weight upon return from the all-star break.

"They have a sense of purpose," Collins said of this season.

Battie's wrist. Sixers backup center Tony Battie, who injured his wrist last week against the Orlando Magic, did not play against the Timberwolves, but Battie did make the trip.

Collins said Battie could be ready for Tuesday's game.


Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at kfagan@phillynews.com. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/DeepSixer3, and read her blog, Deep Sixer, on Philly.com.

 

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